Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Presentaion in .pdf and Embedded Presentation in Blog

To create a PDF version of my Drake Equation presentation, I uploaded my latest presentation version to GDocs. Then I viewed the presentation in GDocs. Within the viewing mode, Google allows a viewer to download a PDF version of the presentation to their home computer, which I did to obtain a PDF version. So now I had a PDF version on my home computer. I then uploaded this PDF file to GDocs. I then was able to share the PDF version by invitation only (GDocs does not support global viewing/sharing of .pdf files, (WHY?)). If you want an invitation, just let me know in the comments at the end of this blog entry.

I also sent the PDF version to Fairmont's FTP site where it is readily available.

I have also created a link to allow the Drake Equation presentation to be viewed from Google Docs. This was done by simply publishing the presentation, then copying and pasting the provided link address. This link will launch a large screen version of the presentation. Note that you can expand the view to full screen by toggling the F11 key. The presentation is best viewed in full screen.

I have also embedded my Drake Equation presentation as a mini presentation module. This took some time, thinking, and experimenting. Suffice it to say that the route is not self-evident.

When I published the presentation, GDocs asks me if I wanted to publish my presentation online using a mini presentation module. GDocs gave me a HTML code in a box at the bottom of the page that is to be copied and pasted into Blogger's edit page. Sounds simple enough. But when I did this, a window would be open on the published blog, but the address could not be found.

After much experimenting and reflecting on how Blogger works and what exactly GDocs was saying, I suddenly realized that I must paste the HTML code into the Blogger edit page with the Editor in the "Edit Html" mode. (Apparently when I pasted the HTML code while I was in the "Compose" mode, the Editor changed the HTML code when the edit page was published, thus producing a wrong address.) I also suspect, but did not test, that I must publish the edit page in the "Edit Html" mode, at least initially.

Note also that there are several application available that allow you to generate a file from your Power Point presentation and embed it in your blog, such as SlideShare.net. I found these when I was searching the Internet to find hints on how to embed presentations in blogs.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Jeopardy Rocks

I chose to focus my Jeopardy game as a review for the Earth Science chapter on the classification and description of the three type of rocks. We will be covering this chapter in a couple of weeks and I plan to use the computer lab to allow each student to use the Jeopardy game as a review. The questions in the game are a good general review and cover the required CSOs for this unit.

After some playing around with the downloaded template, I fixed its problems. This took some time, but allowed me to become more familar with the buttons and the editing process. With this template, I can now simply replace the old text with new material.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

PowerPoint Presentation of the Drake Equation

Beware, this is my first time ever using or producing a Power Point presentation! I understand that PowerPoint is being taught in the elementary schools now, but I seem to have missed that opportunity until this week. I found it very powerful and easy to use once I understood the layout of the tools. The examples that I found on my fellow students blogs were helpful and I thank them.

I chose a topic that I am asked about often. When we cover any subject in astronomy, the question invariable arises, "Are there aliens?" I see this as an opportunity to introduce the students to science reasoning, using the Drake Equation, first introduced right here in West Virginia at the Green Bank radio astronomy observatory, back in 1961.

My presentation discusses the Drake equation and the factors that allow us to estimate the number of civilization in our galaxy. I have also saved a power point show (.pps). Finally there is a web version (.htm). I was wondering if I could overlay a narrative, but I was not confident enough to experiment with that feature.

I was also able to save the presentation to Google Docs.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Jupiter as a mini-Solar System Podcast

(Ahh, this was a tough assignment!)
I chose a topic that my Earth Science students found particularly interesting, the similarities of Jupiter's Galilean moons with the structure of the solar system. In this podcast, I point out the various parallels between the nature of the four moons of Jupiter and the arrangement of our solar system and the process that produced these arrangements.

My script was 1 1/3 typed pages, producing roughly 5 minutes of lecture. I used Audacity to record my lecture and added music to the front end and back end. Audacity was initially intimidating, but after playing with it for a couple of hours, I was able to do most of what I needed to do. If I would use this application more, it could be a great tool for mixing all kinds of audio together.

I exported my project as a .mp3 file after experimenting, straining, and downloading a converter from .wav to .mp3. I could not click on the Library in ITunes to drag my .wav file into as was kindly suggested in the discussion group.

I finally published my podcast via Podbean. Podbean has the same feel as Blogger and I would like to use it to publish more podcasts.

The ISTE NETS addressed by this activity include 2a) design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity; 3a) demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations; 3c) communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, using a variety of digital-age media and formats; and 5a) participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning.